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Ex-Bush adviser accuses Judge Aileen Cannon of quid pro quo

Turkish farmer Fatih Sik faces sinkhole threats while working in Konya cornfields. Climate change and illegal wells contribute to dangerous conditions.

Fatih Sik, a Turkish farmer from Konya, faces the constant fear of sinkholes opening up on his cornfields as he drives his tractor across the land. The agricultural province of Konya, known as Turkey's breadbasket, has already seen two giant sinkholes appear on his property. Despite the looming threat of the earth swallowing him whole at any moment, the 45-year-old farmer continues to work to provide for his family.

Sinkholes have been a part of central Anatolia for centuries, but their numbers have increased in recent years due to droughts leading to excessive well usage for irrigation. These sinkholes can be incredibly deep, some reaching up to 50 meters in depth. They can be invisible from a distance, suddenly appearing in the vast fields of corn, beetroot, wheat, and clover that cover the Konya plain.

Arif Delikan, an associate professor at Konya Technical University, has identified 640 sinkholes in Konya, with over 600 of them located in Karapinar alone. The changing climate is a significant factor contributing to the formation of sinkholes, with around 20 new holes appearing in Karapinar in the past year alone. The government's AFAD disaster agency has identified over 2,700 surface deformations and fractures that indicate a risk of sinkholes needing further investigation.

Sinkholes occur when water dissolves the bedrock beneath the surface, causing it to collapse. They can form naturally or due to human activities. They can appear slowly over time or collapse suddenly with little warning. In the 2022 film "Burning Days" by Turkish director Emin Alper, sinkholes were used as a metaphor for societal cracks in Turkey.

Residents like Adem Ekmekci have witnessed sinkholes swallow up trees and land on their properties. Despite the fear and uncertainty, many have learned to live with the constant threat of sinkholes. The region's reliance on drilling illegal wells for irrigation has further weakened the bedrock, exacerbating the sinkhole issue.

Some entrepreneurs have turned the sinkhole crisis into an opportunity, with one opening a luxury hotel near Turkey's oldest and most famous sinkhole. While the sinkholes pose a significant danger to the region, they have also become a tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world.

As the region grapples with the increasing number of sinkholes, residents like Fatih Sik continue to work the land, knowing that at any moment, the earth could open up and swallow them whole. Despite the challenges, they remain resilient in the face of this natural phenomenon that threatens their livelihoods and safety.

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